VIA RAIL Canada’s annual report, released on April 22, revealed increased ridership and reduced government subsidy for 1997. Passenger revenue increased to C$179m, 7% higher than in 1996, while government funding fell to C$229m, of which C$196m was for operating expenses; operating subsidy should drop further to C$178m this year.

Amtrak’s ridership and on-time performance improved during the first quarter of 1998. The passenger count exceeded 4·7 million, up by 5·8% over the same period a year earlier. Within the three business units, Northeast Corridor patronage rose 8·8% and Intercity increased by 4·8%. Amtrak West, however, dropped 2·7%, primarily due to weather disruptions during February which saw many trains cancelled when storms flooded many routes. Despite this, punctuality reached 82·8%, a 5% improvement. o